SHARJAH, 20th November, 2018 (WAM) — Coinciding with Universal Children’s Day, the Sharjah Baby Friendly Office, SBFO, and the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, in the presence of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.
The MoU aims to advance cooperation efforts between both entities, to develop the framework for children’s rights in the community, school and family, and reinforce Sharjah’s stature as a hub for local and global conferences supporting children.
The agreement was signed by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of SBFO, and Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for MENA, in the presence of Al Tayyeb Adam, UNICEF Representative of the Gulf Area Office. Essam Ali, Social Policy Specialist at the Gulf Area Office, and Dr. Hessa Al Ghazal, Executive Director of SBFO, were also present.
As part of the agreement, UNICEF has announced the implementation of a three-year initiative, “Child-Friendly Schools” in Sharjah, to be implemented between 2019 and 2021. The initiative aims to create school environments for children conducive to their development, where they can enjoy interactive participation in safe surroundings, and learn through innovative ways that involve individuality, creativity and play.
The MoU will also facilitate expertise exchange and cooperation between the two entities when they organise annual events and initiatives. They will also share the latest findings of studies and data, to effectuate positive and necessary changes in creating a healthy environment for the region’s children and young people.
The Ruler of Sharjah met with UNICEF Regional Director Geert Cappelaere and discussed Sharjah’s leading role in ensuring the welfare of children and young adults, especially after being named a UNICEF Child-Friendly City – the first city in the world to have received the UN’s prestigious title as per UNICEF initiative’s new criteria.
Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi views this new partnership between SBFO and UNICEF as an international acknowledgement of Sharjah’s excellence in protecting the rights and promoting the welfare of its citizens and residents, especially children. “Sharjah is indeed worthy of it, in recognition of its outstanding efforts in protecting and promoting the rights of all children residing in the emirate.”
She added, “In Sharjah, we strongly believe that providing an appropriate environment, which offers the foundations for social, cultural and creative education, contributes to strengthening loyalty, and in turn, increases social stability. Such a setting is sure to stimulate creativity in young generations, and their happiness and comfort in their surroundings will drive them to do better for their and their nation’s futures.”
Geert Cappelaere said, “Recognising Sharjah as CFC is a testimony of the important commitment and investment to create opportunities for children to achieve their full potential development. Today, in light of celebration of Universal Children’s Day, we discussed with His Highness, the Ruler of Sharjah, ways for partnerships to support the commitment of Sharjah to value, empower, educate children, including the most vulnerable.”